Cincinnati FC, MLS expansion team, opens up their first season in Major League Soccer

Sean Herbst, Sports Copy Editor

The 2019 Major League Soccer season kicked off on Sat, Mar. 2. Cincinnati FC looked to make their name known throughout the league in their first season. Cincinnati played in the USL (United Soccer League) during the 2018 season, which is the second-tier soccer league in the U.S., before their expansion to the MLS was announced May 29, 2018.

Cincinnati FC is the newest addition to the MLS, joining the league this year. This is the third professional team to be based in Cincinnati along with the Cincinnati Reds (MLB) and Cincinnati Bengals (NFL).

Cincinnati’s first points were a step in the right direction, tying last year’s champions, Atlanta United FC, 1-1 in Atlanta. After an early Atlanta goal by Josef Martinez in the fourth minute, Cincinnati was able to hold off United’s attack until they tied the game in the 86th minute through the foot of Roland Lamah.

“After three minutes in and they score, I didn’t even see the goal. I think I was still waving to some fans. I thought the game was going to end about 5 or 6-0. I’m glad we were able to change it around, I’m glad we were able to get more energy as the game went  on. We started to grow some confidence and, to be honest, I think we could have really changed the game if we had more time. It is tough to see my old teammates going through a pretty tough time right now, but at the same time, a really valued point that we have with this new club,” said Greg Garza, FC Cincinnati defender, per

After their second game resulting in a tie, Cincinnati traveled home for their opening night at Nippert Stadium against the Portland Timbers. Cincinnati defeated the Timbers 3-0, making this not only their first win at home but also their first win in the MLS.

“That was the performance I was looking for for this city. It’s what this city deserved, and I was just really proud that we got to give it to them,” said Cincinnati-native and center back, Nick Hagglund.

Opened by a Kendall Watson 15th minute goal, Cincinnati never looked back. A successful first home game was enough of a satisfaction for both the team and city, proven by the party inside the stadium spilling over into the streets around Nippert Stadium.

“I’m glad we could reward the city and our fans in a game that was very, very special to this community with a great performance and, honestly, a huge three points. Our fans are the reasons why we are where we are today. I’m glad we could give them that sort of performance,” said FCC Head Coach, Alan Koch.

“Cincinnati FC has looked like a strong and organized team at the beginning of this year. It’s been impressive how well they’ve done at the beginning of the year, tying the prior champions and beating Portland 3-0. I think they have a bright future in the MLS and I hope they continue to perform well,” said Leo Ramos, sophomore.